This wasn't my first proper gunpla kit, but it's one of the early ones. I was quite curious about Real Grade line, and its combination of small scale (1/144) and high level of detail. I decided to go with RX-78-2 even though by that time I haven't seen original Gundam. It had a nice retro look, simple coloring scheme and those sexy armor lines. And I've seen it before in person, so at least there was this feeling of familiarity.
By June'12 I had most of it assembled... and that's the point at which this guy got stuck. It spent next 6 months in a small coffin-like box, disassembled and waiting for a moment when I'd be willing to play with it further. For some reason, I found other HG kits to be more enjoyable — one evening of snipping and snapping, and you get a reasonably looking model. RX-78-2 got a bit of panel lining done, but after a quarter of it done I somehow lost my impact.
Mid-January something clicked, I dug out the box this guy was resting in, and decided to finish the job. Five days later, here it is.
The assembly was a blast — especially the inner frame. That frame came partially preassembled, including some of the ball joints. Bandai did a good job here — and I still haven't found out how they've managed to actually mold those ball joints. While it's kind of a normal matter that adjusting any of the parts will cause a part on opposite side to detach and fall off — but this guy had some specific issues along those lines. Skirt armor and backpack verniers are rather flimsy and will fly off at random moments. Its hands are a separate chapter full of fancy swearwords; those tiny cute ball joints will pop out constantly when you're trying to place a weapon in the hand. On top of that, when it was still standing on a shelf, hoping to get more of my attention it decided to dive down to floor below. I found all of the parts, and surprisingly only one of them got broken — one of backpack handles. This accident made me move it to a box - and get a proper display case for other finished models.
My original plan was to stop at decals. The kit came with foil stickers, which are rather ugly after application so I've decided to get waterslide decals instead. Given how nice Chinese knock-off decals looked on HG Exia, I thought that original Bandai ones will be even better. Turned out quite the oposite — adhesion was poor, and edges of foil were quite visible. After applying a whole set and waiting a bit to allow them to "bind", I took kit into my hand, only to find that decals are falling off it like dandruff. Annoyed with the outcome, I decided that I might as well experiment further, if it's going to be ugly and played with Vallejo decal fix. It helped to glue down majority of decals... so after a moment of hesitation I decided to follow up with top-coating. I've tried top-coating before with my Eva kit, and it turned out poorly. This time, I've used an airbrush, and Vallejo primer that you can spray straight away without thinning (at 40psi). Much easier to control, compared to a can. End result surprised me in a positive way. What's best, I could finally grab the kit without ripping delicate decals off the surface.
I haven't really had enough daylight this weekend to make some proper "catalogue" shots. Instead of those, I can show you some of the "work in progress" snips.
And what's coming up next? Now that I'm more confident with top-coating, I'll probably put varnish on my first kit ever, HG Exia. Stay tuned!